With the NFL schedule officially being released Thursday night we now know who, when, and where the New Orleans Saints will be playing for the duration of the 2023 NFL season. In week 3 the Saints will travel to Lambeau to take on the Green Bay Packers fortunately for the Saints the weather should be somewhat favorable considering the game could’ve been placed much later in the season. A lot has changed between the Saints and the Packers in the last couple years, for starters noticeably Drew Brees (retired) and Aaron Rodgers (traded) won’t be the signal callers in this game for the first time since 2005 where the two quarterbacks were Aaron Brooks and Brett Favre. The direction of both teams also seems to be on two different paths, as the Saints brought in Derek Carr and are looking to compete immediately in a wide-open NFC. The Packers on the other hand have now turned the keys over to Jordan Love after drafting him back in 2020 and could compete in the NFC North but with Detroit and Chicago on the rise and the Packers not making a ton of moves in the offseason, they are going to be interesting to watch during the season.
On paper the Saints should be heavily favored in this game. This is a Packers team that struggled last year offensively and lost its hall of fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers as well as the team's number one wide receiver in Allen Lazard. Jordan Love is coming into a season where his top pass catcher and only proven starter across both wide receivers and tight ends would be Christian Watson who is coming into his second season. The Packers can run the ball well with both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion as the duo combined for over 1,800 yards on the ground last year and the Packers should have Pro Bowl linemen Elton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari retuning from injury last season and more a wall on that left side of the offensive line which could spell trouble for the Saints who ranked 24th in rushing defensive and could stall a Saints pass rush ended last year with 48 sacks which still ranked 5th among all 32 teams.
Flipping sides here this is a totally different Saints offense which struggled mightily at times last year. With Derek Carr now in command the Saints could look more explosive considering Carr’s veteran leadership and ability to make changes at the line of scrimmage, and of course having a healthy Michael Thomas to pair with second year youngsters like Shaheed and Olave only makes the offense more dangerous. The Packers have some good pieces on defense players like Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander, and De’Vondre Campbell all are above average players at their respective positions, however the Saints on paper have the weapons to compete with just about anyone in the NFL the tight ends should provide big plays in the middle of the field and with a true committee of running backs you can’t stop one aspect of this offense as long as they stay healthy. At the end of the day I like what the Saints have done on paper, and I believe that this will be a soft rebuild for the Packers with Jordan Love at quarterback and will look towards next year to retool and be more competitive.
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